Would this work?
It’s a simple change, but the perceived value is immediate. You can put icons anywhere on the existing grid, eliminating the need to implement hackery just to make apps easier to launch. In fact, the current (forced) top-to-bottom, left-to-right layout of the iOS Springboard is one of the reasons I find less appeal in the larger iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus screens.
I know Reachability sort of helps, but forcing users to make three taps to open an app (two for Reachability and one for the app itself) is less than ideal. An argument can be made that this is the tradeoff you make when choosing a larger screen, but is this a compromise that needs to be made at all? Android has been implementing a “free” type of home screen layout for years, and I think it works particularly well for increasing usability across large devices.
Since the iPhone’s introduction seven years ago, the iOS Springboard has remained largely unchanged, and, as a programmer, I know that this type of “simple” change could be a logistical nightmare to implement. However, Apple has always done particularly well at using software design to mitigate constraints imposed by hardware. If the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are the sizes Apple wants to commit to for the future, I think Springboard should grow up some too.
—Monday, 2 February 2015